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Tuesday, 13 May 2003
Page: 10983


Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 24 March 2003:

(1) How many tonnes of beef did Australia export to the Russian Federation in each of the following years: (a) 2000; (b) 2001; and (c) 2002.

(2) How many tonnes of pork did Australia export to the Russian Federation in each of the following years: (a) 2000; (b) 2001; and (c) 2002.

(3) How many tonnes of poultry did Australia export to the Russian Federation in each of the following years: (a) 2000; (b) 2001; and (c) 2002.

(4) Has the Russian Federation decided to impose tariff rate quotas on imported beef, pork and poultry; if so: (a) how will the quotas be set; and (b) when will they be implemented.

(5) How will the quotas impact on Australian exports of beef, pork and poultry.

(6) How many processors will be affected.

(7) When was the Australian Government first informed of the decision to impose quotas on beef, pork and chicken.

(8) What representations did the Australian Government make to the Russian Federation in relation to this matter.

(9) What tariff or other trade barriers restrict the export of Australian wool, sugar, meat and dairy products to the Russian Federation.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Trade has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The following data is based on information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

(a) 2,229 tonnes, of which 2173 tonnes is frozen beef

(b) 6,837 tonnes, of which 6623 tonnes is frozen beef

(c) 5,187 tonnes, of which 5044 tonnes is frozen beef

(2) (a) 0.6 tonnes

(b) 80 tonnes

(c) 528 tonnes

(3) (a) nil

(b) nil

(c) 253 tonnes

(4) Yes.

(a) (i) For frozen beef (tariff heading 0202), the tariff rate quota (TRQ) volume will be 420,000 tonnes per annum, and 315,000 tonnes for the final nine months of 2003. The in-quota tariff rate will be 15 per cent or 0.20 Euro/kg if higher. The out-of-quota tariff rate will be 60 per cent or 0.60 Euro/kg if higher.

(ii) Russian imports of fresh or chilled beef (tariff heading 0201) are not subject to the TRQ.

(iii) For fresh, chilled or frozen pork (tariff heading 0203), the in-quota volume will be 450,000 tonnes per annum, and 337,000 tonnes for the final nine months of 2003. The in-quota tariff rate will be 15 per cent or 0.25 Euro/kg if higher. The out-of-quota tariff rate will be 80 per cent or 1.06 Euro/kg if higher.

(iv) Ninety per cent of the tariff rate quota volume for beef and pork will be allocated on the basis of historical imports by Russian importers over the three year period from 2000 to 2002. The remaining 10 per cent will be allocated by Dutch auction.

(v) An import quota will apply to poultry meat imports, which will be set at 1.05 million tonnes per annum, and 744,000 tonnes for the final eight months of 2003. A special industrial-use quota will also be set at 268 tonnes per annum, and 190 tonnes for the final eight months of 2003.

(vi) The import quota on poultry meat will be allocated on the basis of historical imports by Russian importers over the three year period from 1999 to 2001, and traditional suppliers of poultry will be allocated country-specific quotas.

(b) (i) Tariff rate quotas on beef and pork - 1 April 2003.

(ii) Import quota on poultry - 1 May 2003.

(5) The measures will restrict global access to the Russian market for these products. Although Australia may be able to maintain its current export levels given that ninety per cent of the Russian tariff rate quota will be allocated on the basis of historical imports, Australian exporters will still need to compete with other countries for a share of the tariff rate quota. Much will depend on how Russia administers the distribution and utilisation of the tariff rate quota.

(6) Based on data collected over the past 13 months, 55 processors of frozen beef and five processors of pork engaged in export to Russia and could potentially be affected.

(7) The Australian Government received unofficial reports of Russia's decision to implement tariff rate quotas on 29 January 2003. These reports were confirmed by the Russian authorities on 31 January 2003.

(8) Our Ambassador in Moscow and our WTO mission in Geneva have both made several rounds of high-level representations to the Russian authorities to state our opposition to the introduction of these TRQs. They have also pressed the Russian authorities to minimise any disruption to existing trade, and are seeking early phase-out commitments. I have written to Mr Gref, Russian Minister for Economic Development and Trade, emphasising my considerable concern at the introduction of these TRQs.

(9) Tariffs for wool, meat and dairy products range between 10 and 20 per cent. A tariff rate quota applies to raw sugar imports and under current Russian law no developed country supplier (including Australia) has access to this tariff rate quota. Russia's quarantine and certification regime imposes restrictions on Australian exports of wool (especially greasy wool), meat and dairy products.